Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Big Girl Pants by Meghan Genge

"In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Paddington Station
Be gentle with yourself, they have said.  

Remember you are a fragile soul, I have read.

Even the kindest words can be poison.

Because I have only listened to those words when fear or grief has caused me pain and I was seeking safety.

And instead of making me healthier, they caused a kind of paralysis.

Because sometimes we need to be gentle with ourselves, and sometimes we need permission to play small.

But now that we are grown-up, most times we need know that we are strong and capable and that we have what it takes to take the next step.

Most times the best course of action is not to stay fragile.

Most times the best course of action is to put on our big girl pants or our invisible crown and prove to ourselves that we have got this.

It's our internal Supernanny that we need, not our fairy godmother.

Take the chance. Make the leap. Sit on the naughty step. Get off your ass. Clean your house. Eat your greens. Play bigger. Get dressed. Make the call. Move your body. Do the math. Book the ticket. Take responsibility.

You've got this.


Born in Canada, I currently live in England with my husband. Besides stories and magic, I believe in connection, nourishment and the power of a good BIC® medium black pen. I am drawn to the essence – of a person, a thing, a feeling – and I know that it is where the real truth lies. My dream is to own a porch and a dock – and hopefully the house that goes with them - and to do my bit to help remind you that you are more powerful than you can possibly imagine. I can be found at my new blog: Words and Wordlessness, and occasionally on Twitter.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

every path you take is a dead end by aimee cavenecia

All paths lead to nowhere (now-here). So you might as well skip the plan, & just get present.

I was looking at a diagram with a friend this morning. It's one of those charts that show you different paths, depending on what choice you make. As he examined it he said, "This is pointless! Every path you take leads to a dead end! What's the use!" When I heard that, something clicked. I laughed inside. I heard the truth & the wisdom. It made me smile to hear how every path that we think will lead us somewhere -- brings us right back to ourselves.

I need peace,
I need children,
I need money,
I need property,
I need space,
I need accomplishment,
I need success,
I need creativity,
I need sex,
I need love,
I need freedom,
I need education,
I need friendship,
I need career,
I need protection,
I need expression,
I need rights,
I need balance,
I need security,
I need religion,
I need opportunity,
I need equality,
I need partnership,
I need family,
I need health,
I need answers,
I need individuality,
I need truth,
I need unity,
I need simplicity,
I need comfort,
I need luxury,
I need silence,
I need understanding,
I need help,
I need companionship,
I need solitude,
I need forgiveness,
I need romance,
I need independence,
I need support,
I need acceptance,
I need travel,
I need work,
I need solutions,
I need nature,
I need attention,
I need beauty,
I need respect,
I need allies,
I need nothing.

Pick any one of those that rings true for you, & ask yourself what you think it will ultimately give you. In what way will it be the answer? How will it complete you? Will it end the search? The constant need to want, like, or need something -- will it finally be over?

And really be clear. Do you think fighting against something will give you what you want? Do you think you will be happy? What about striving for something? Or working for something? Will that do it? Will you be complete then? How about creating something? Will it end there? What about not wanting anything? Will that finally finish the job? What will it take for you to feel like you are whole & complete & content -- like there is no path to take that would be better than the present moment?

Where are you in all of this? And why is it that you need so much to feel like everything is OK? What is it about you that isn't working for you? Why are you never enough? Maybe the problem is you?

For me, when I get stuck on the "you" problem (a.k.a. the "me" problem). I can usually trace it to three things (actually, just one, one will do the trick). All three things lead to suffering. And all three things are just confusion in my opinion. Confused thinking.  

1. FEARFUL Bring any problem you have to mind. Trace it down to its roots. Go really really deep. Don't cut yourself short. Dig down deep. What's down there? Really look at it. Expose it. Give it a good face-to-face look. Is it fear? You betcha. So the problem you think you have -- that you needed something to solve -- really isn't the problem, is it?  

2. LOST I can pretty much take any problem, any source of suffering, & catch myself dwelling on the past, or in the future. If I take myself out of those places (that don't exist!), & I get fully present to what is happening ONLY in the present moment -- if I can do that, then I am fine. And I don't mean the current moment somewhere else. I mean right now, right here -- with the one that was lost in past/future based thinking. If I just get still. If I stop & just feel what it feels like to be in the present moment fully -- I will see that the suffering is unjustified. The next time you are frustrated, or angry, or jealous, or stressed, or lonely, or discontent -- the next time you are suffering in any way -- ask yourself where you are. Where are you mentally? I bet you aren't present to the gift that is now. This moment, in all it has to offer.  

3. SEPARATE Ahhh... back to the "me" & "you" problem. :) Don't cha just love it! It's everywhere. Look over your day. Look throughout your life. Look all over the world! Don't you see it? It's like a disease that everyone is suffering from. There is a Zen quote that I really love, it's "No Self, No Problem." That quote is one of the most profound quotes I know. (And if you have ever seen my Facebook or Twitter pages, you know I am a quote magnet. So if I say this one is tops, I mean it!) Everything is integral in my opinion. Just like it is becoming more obvious that we are all part of one world (no country is separate), because the planet earth is showing us that (e.g., destroy the rainforests, and everyone everywhere feels the impact). When you believe that every person, every living being, isn't moving as one, from a common source, totally & infinitely connected -- you will feel it. And it isn't a good feeling. It's called suffering.

All three of these things, these roots of suffering, or feelings of incompleteness, all of them can instantly disappear.

On Thursday evening I was bent out of shape, not in a good head space. That night I couldn't sleep. I felt terrible. The next morning I received an email from someone. They reassured me that there isn't a problem. Everything will be taken care of. All is well. After that, I was light as a cloud & had the most amazing day! How is this possible? I asked myself, "Aimee, what happened between last night & this morning? How can you go from distraught to bliss? Nothing happened, but a few brief words from another person! Nothing physically changed -- just a few words were read!" I thought about it & I realized that I could trace the distraught feeling to all the roots of suffering I mentioned above. And the person that reassured me in their email, addressed each one of the three roots: There is nothing to fear; This won't happen in the future; We share the same goal. --And whalla! I was back to bliss! But what I should have realized is, that I don't need that to come from outside of me. Not from any person or circumstance. It was there all along.

Try it for yourself. Just notice. Hold up your wants. See if they can solve your problems once & for all, or make you feel totally complete & whole. Then, hold up your problems. See if you can trace them back to a feeling of fear; past or future based thinking; or an idea that you are a separate individual. Have fun with it. Have fun digging & checking out the roots. Dig deep. Get your hands dirty. Everyone is in the mud. But everyone doesn't have to be stuck.

Take a good look at what paths you want to take to get you somewhere, that isn't already here. Check to see if it leads you to a dead end (right back to you). Or just give up the search, & find what you have always been looking for -- right here, right now -- in this moment -- just as it is. See that it is already perfect, already complete. Stop & settle into it, fully feel & embrace it. Feel how it feels to love fearlessly.

Aimee Cavenecia (also known as AimeeLovesYou) is an author & activist who is currently igniting a Bliss & Self-Mastery revolution through her weekly blog Sunday Is For Lovers. Aimee's life-work is to share her insights on Seeing, Loving & Being (SLB), as well teaching meditation to people globally via the internet.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Choosing Safety by Kelly Besecke

This week, I went for safety.

I've been a freelance editor and writer for three years. I like it, and it's going well, and it suits me in so many ways, including that I get to use some of my best strengths, work from home, and set my own schedule. But financially, freelancing feels unsafe. You never know, from month to month, where the money will come from, what the work will be, and how much you'll earn. Some months, your income may be zero. I feel more confident the longer it goes well—the more months and years I can look back and say, "OK, I did all right. I brought in enough." But then I look forward on my calendar into next month or next week or next year, and I don't see where the money will come from—of course. It's the nature of the job.

So last month, when a client called and asked me to apply for a part-time, salaried position that would allow me to work form home on my own hours, I thought, "Safety!" I could do this job—I knew I had the skills. What's more, I believed in the mission of the organization and had occasionally contributed to it informally. It seemed like the closest I could get to freelancing in a salaried position. I imagined how my life would change if I could predict this month's income, and next month's, and the month after that. My shoulders relaxed just thinking about it. My mind became easy. I knew that this was kismet—after all, I had gotten the phone call telling me about the job only two days after completing a book manuscript I'd been working on forever, and one day after sitting in a coffee shop and making a long list of my "post-manuscript life priorities." It was a big deal. The timing was amazing.

So I wrote up a resume and cover letter, ran them by my friends, applied for the job, and did some preparatory work. And then, on the appointed day, I picked up the phone to interview for the position.
An hour and a half later, I hung up the phone and said aloud, "Holy cow." I texted my friend Colleen: "Holy cow. Interview over. Not sure I want the job any more." I e-mailed my other friend Colleen: "Holy cow, I'd love to process that job interview with you. Long and short of it: Not sure I want the job any more." (As an aside, if you ever want to know anything about me, apparently all you have to do is Google "holy cow" and "my friend Colleen.")

This post is getting long, so I'll cut to the chase. The interview gave me the sense that the job would be unsafe for me. Not physically unsafe, of course. And not financially unsafe, either—no, that lure was still there. The job felt unsafe creatively. A part-time job, it felt like it would require my full-time focus. It felt like the kind of job that never leaves your mind—the kind that's always with you, that demands all your resources of energy and attention to execute someone else's predetermined agenda.
And that kind of job doesn't support a creative life.

I've made a commitment to my creative life—to writing, and to living in a way that nourishes my writing. My freelancing business supports this commitment, not only financially, but also energetically. It suits me. It dovetails.

So I withdrew my application for the job. With all its financial risk, I chose freelancing. I chose creativity. I chose safety.

Kelly Besecke writes about spiritual meaning, progressive religion, and authentic living. Her first book, You Can't Put God in a Box: A Thoughtful Spirituality for a Rational Age, will be out in 2013. Kelly is a dreamer, a thinker, and an incurable idealist who loves singer-songwriter music, impressionism, and every dog she's ever met.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The No Boundary Story by Valarie Budayr

“When there is a story not being told, you tell the story yourself.” 

Einar Bodstrom 

This past month has had me thinking a lot about story and how it impacts my creative life. I’ve never noticed it before but I just naturally put what I’m creating into story form, whether creating a piece of music, writing a book, taking a photo, or making a video it all starts with story.

I’ve had to ask myself the question, is this where I feel safe enough to create?

 Telling a story no matter the medium is a safety net for me. There’s nothing wrong with it but what if I didn’t have that goal. What would my creative moment look like? Would I be able to create or would the well run dry of creativity.

I decided to take one of my photographs and make a series called Theme and Variations at Sunset. No story, just wreck less creating. At first I felt a little nervous because I didn’t know where this would go. I didn’t know what would happen.

“Oh my gosh, I thought, There’s no structure.”

I released my fear by just creating and as I did so many new ideas came and it was even hard to stop. This left me thinking more about story. Is story really a structure of beginning, middle, end or can there be an abstract story of just creating, just being in the moment, and experiencing something new?

In my creative experiment I changed the story. If I didn’t create in the first place then the story wouldn’t be told whether a structured story or an abstract one.

Later I remembered a poem by Jelaluddin Rumi called Story Water. For Rumi the story is the medium and not the structure. The person creating is part of the medium of expression and when the creation is finished it reveals a secret, a hidden part of the one creating.

Remembering this poem gave me a new perspective on the stories one tells through their craft. Once a week now I just sit down and do a creative moment in a different way, opening the door to new expressions.

 Story Water 

A story is like water 
that you heat for your bath. 

It takes messages between the fire and your skin. It lets them meet, 
and it cleans you ! 

Very few can sit down 
in the middle of the fire itself 
like a salamander or Abraham. 
We need intermediaries. 

A feeling of fullness comes, 
but usually it takes some bread 
to bring it. 

Beauty surrounds us, 
but usually we need to be walking 
in a garden to know it. 

The body itself is a screen 
to shield and partially reveal 
the light that’s blazing 
inside your presence. 

Water, stories, the body, 
all the things we do, are mediums 
that hide and show what 
is hidden. 

Study them, 
and enjoy this being washed 
with a secret we sometimes know, 
and then not. 

Jelaluddin Rumi 

Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Savoring the Moment by Susan Cadley

Summer is my favorite season and I usually find myself wanting to squeeze all the juice I can out of it.  I enjoy savoring the colors and fullness of this season.  For me, summer means playtime and a lightness of being.  I take this practice of savoring into my daily life so that I remain aware, awake, noticing, being present.  This is not only important in the work I do as a counselor, but in my daily life too.   I want to be fully here and experience what is in the now.  
savor |ˈsāvər|    Relish, enjoy (to the full), appreciate,delight in, revel in, luxuriate in, bask in.~Webster's Dictionary
My yard feels like a huge sprawling ranch that is full of life.  Even though it’s not and I live in the suburbs, there’s a lot going on in nature.  You'll notice too, as you slow down your outer pace. That's when savoring happens.
Savoring can happen anywhere, any place.  Consider how you can add more savoring into your day.  Take time to savor your favorite cup of tea or “joe”, relish in a conversation with a friend, see the love in your child, partner or pet’s eyes, notice the colors of nature or the formations of the clouds above.  This slowing down and savoring adds richness to life.  Just like meditation, a few moments of savoring can replenish your soul for the rest of the day.
Here's a poem I wrote while sitting in my yard on a cool September morn. It was a savoring moment, so I got out my poetry net to catch a few words about my experience.  I invite you to come on out into nature for a moment...and savor.
Savoring Sunday morning
Spying through coffee steam
The coolness calms
And begins to soothe
The summer heat
That loosens its grasp
Giving way to autumn
A black crow caw
Pierces through the sky
Announcing the transition
Parting the atmosphere
A rustle bustle of squirrels
Perform on balance beam fence
Marshmallow tufts lull over canvas blue
Grasshopper clings to screen
We all slow down
Moving inward
To rest
Into ourselves

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Soul Coach and sole proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How to handle limiting beliefs, fears + doubts on the way to your dream by Andrea Schroeder

I received an email from Louise, a lovely portrait artist who has:
  • lost all confidence in her artwork
  • has a belief that she can't shake off that she can't support herself with her dream
And so she feels frozen and unsure about how to move forward with her dreams. We've all felt this way. We've all felt like we can't have what we really want, like we don't deserve it and it will just never happen. Learning how to deal with this stuff is your Most Important Work, when it comes 
to bringing your dreams to life.

With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea Schroeder lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Where Do You Find Safety? by Alli Vainshtein

How safe is it in a volcano?
How safe is it anywhere?
I grew up in a quiet family, all my needs were met. I had food to eat, clothes to wear, a green stucco house to live in. (I am second from the left)

Yet, I am not sure I have ever been completely safe according to society's standards, and I'm not sure I want to. There is something about my life that has always been edgy. I have always had health issues, many times life-threatening. I have always had more bills than income. I have always had enemies. I have always had challenges. I have always worked more hours than I rested. Maybe it's because I don't fancy the easy road. My grandfather used to tell me I had a spike in my head. It's a Swedish way of saying that I was politely and quietly stubborn, but at the same time, inclined to work hard to get things done. He explained that this was the highest compliment he could ever give me. I used to have a rusty railroad spike sitting on my desk to remind myself of that after he passed away. I wish I knew what happened to it!

I have always been attracted to the jobs that nobody else wanted to do. Somehow that makes it more attractive to me. I am also mesmerized by difficult people. I have this belief that there is a treasure in the heart of everyone I meet, and I love hunting for that treasure. If the person is unaware of it, that makes the pursuit more exhilarating.

I love the creativity in pandemonium. I love the opportunities that arise. I love the shaking up of the old to create something new. This is where I feel safe. 

I love living in tumultuous times. I love that change is becoming safe. I love that nothing is constant in the world anymore. When I discovered that the number one fear in America is public speaking, I enrolled in theater and speech classes until I learned to love public speaking. I no longer pass out when I have to stand in front of a group; I feel like teaching is what I was meant to do. I am the most alive now when I am speaking to a group. I love the connection.

The truth is that I feel safe in who I am. The world is not what makes me safe. The people around me don't make me safe. My job isn't safe. My money isn't safe. My health isn't safe. But in my heart, in my soul, I have a safety in knowing who I am and my connection to the universe. I won't be on the world forever. I just became a senior citizen this week. I don't have the money to retire. But I firmly believe that the only safety I will ever find is the safety of knowing who I am, being true to me, being transparent to the world, and following the passions that drive me. 

If I can feel safe, anybody can. I learned that the only person that I can consistently depend on to always love me unconditionally is me. I am the only one who will always be there whenever I need someone. I am the only one who knows me well enough to understand what I am going through. 

Once I learned to love myself and feel safe with who I am, my safety is guaranteed no matter what volcano I am walking across on my tightrope. It's all a matter of your perspective. No matter where I am going, my inner safety goes with me.

Alli Vainshtein is a business, accounting, and career instructor at Riverland Community College in Tropical Southern Minnesota. She loves to write (stories, lectures, blogs, letters, emails, etc.), paint, play piano, meditate, travel, cook, make new friends, and live like a Goddess. She is also a great fan of Jamie Ridler - Circe's Circle changed her life dramatically! 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Safe? by Meghan Genge

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." - Marianne Williamson

megg knocker

I have this quote taped above my desk. I have written it into many journals and books. I have read it to myself dozens of times over the years. In some ways I really hate it.

I hate it because it is true. I hate it because it is the quote that I have been looking for - the one that answers my eternal questions - and the one that I most fear.

It is my light, you see, that I am the most afraid of.  It is easy to write about darkness. It is easy to stand beside everyone else and agree with all of their complaints and their fears. It is so easy to be small.

You'd think that wouldn't be the case.  You'd think that small and sad would be the hardest thing.  The self-help industry is worth bajillions, not because they have the answers, but because we are so comfortable with our darkness.  We know it. We don't have to work at it. We can't fail at it.

It is easier to be afraid.  Afraid, strangely, is safe.

Lately, however, I have felt a strange pull.  A new fear has taken root.  This fear - of staying stuck in the darkness forever - has begun to heave and snort and pull at the reins.  And luckily, it has begun to feel just a little bit scarier than my fear of the light.

Safety is relative. Which is safer?  Being brave or never sharing the gifts you were sent here to give?

I thought so.

Megg is a writer, a seeker, and a finder of magic. Her new website is coming soon!